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 Post subject: Emmanuele Bernheim
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2005 3:39 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2005 2:36 am
Posts: 272
ah.. je l'adore !
did you read emanuelle berneheim's books.
i wont tell about more.
look that links.


"sa femme or the other woman
by Emmanuele Bernheim
This is a smashing little book. I read it in a single sitting and I think that that is very important. Putting the book down and coming back to it would have disrupted the flow of thoughts present in the book. It is written in the first person throughout and I really felt as if I was the heroine.
Bernheim is excellent at writing such psychological works. She wrote Swimming Pool, which was of a similar structure. This story is about a young doctor who falls for a builder from across the street and their strange love affair.
A great read.
by Philip Pullman (http://www.smallestspace.com/green/2004/02/07)"


"From Publishers Weekly
This enigmatic novella coolly observes a single woman, Claire, whose lover, Thomas, claims to have a wife and two children. Each day after work, Thomas comes to Claire's apartment. He usually stays precisely an hour-and-a-quarter, and Claire feels the relationship has progressed when he allots her 15 extra minutes. Claire is no kept woman. She's a 30-year-old doctor with a private practice, but Thomas rules her behavior nonetheless. She's "careful not to accept any dinner invitations before 9 o'clock" so as not to interrupt their assignations; she doesn't wear perfume for fear his wife will smell it on his skin. And she collects souvenirs that validate their secret romance?sugar cubes from a cafe where they had coffee; condom wrappers from every rendezvous; even answering-machine tapes of his voice. Bernheim works in deadpan, objective statements. If her narrative is meted out in bitter sips ("Claire went to bed. Thomas wouldn't leave his wife. She went to sleep"), then each brief chapter is as bracing as a shot of espresso. Thomas remains two-dimensional, understood only as the source of Claire's preoccupation, and Claire's motivations and needs are equally mysterious. Only the vague conclusion, in which Claire fixates on a male patient, suggests that she knows more about obsession than she lets on. Suffice to say, it's all very French.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist
Would you call a woman's collection of sugar cubes, dead roses, answering-machine tapes, and condom wrappers obsessive? Certainly, and Bernheim's main character is definitely obsessed. But, make no mistake, this character leads a normal life and is a professional, a doctor with her own private practice. We enter the woman's life right after her purse is stolen. It is returned later by a mysterious construction worker who quickly becomes her lover. Bernheim re-creates a person totally consumed by trivial reminders, objects that seem the only aspect of another person's life that she can truly possess. Bare-bones language--simple noun-verb sentence construction and almost scientifically recorded facts (dates, times, etc.)--is effective in characterizing a fastidious, almost one-dimensional, frame of mind. Yet, this minimalist style doesn't offer much tension, intrigue, or even interest at times to inspire the reader to read on. Still, the book is curious and probably accurate in depicting obsessive behavior and a common trend of career women allowing themselves to be controlled by men. This novel is ultimately peculiar, and sometimes peculiarity alone makes a best-seller. Janet St. John" (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de ... s&n=507846).............................................

and customer rewiew on the same page :

[i]" Femme" or "The Other Woman" is a novella from award-winning French writer Emmanuele Bernheim. It's the story of Claire, a 30-year-old doctor. Claire has a very orderly--almost sterile--existence. One half of her flat is devoted to her medical practice (waiting room, surgery, and examination room), and she lives in the other half. Claire takes appointments until 8 at night, and her favourite season is the winter as it brings her patients with Bronchitis and pneumonia. Claire's former beau, Michel, still has keys to her flat, and he visits several times a week. Their relationship is odd--too tense and loaded to be a friendship, but too cold to be romantic.
One day, Claire meets Thomas Kovacs--a building site supervisor. Thomas tells Claire that he is married and has two children. They begin an affair, and Thomas makes it perfectly clear that he will never leave his wife.

The most interesting aspect of this book is Bernheim's description of how the affair shapes Claire's life. Even though Thomas carefully limits his visits to Claire to one hour and 15 minutes a night, nonetheless, Claire begins to plan her entire day around his visit. She shrinks her office time, collects souvenirs of their trysts, becomes distracted, and is constantly imagining Thomas with his wife and children. She even devises ways to keep him there a little longer, and she considers it a major triumph if he stays for an hour and a half.

The novella remains largely unsatisfying, and I can't explain too much without giving away the plot. But the plot switches, and there is no logic or explanation for the characters. I should add here that I was attracted to this novel because Bernheim wrote the novel the film "Swimming Pool" was based on. Bernheim also shares writing credits on the film "Under the Sand" (both films are from director Francois Ozon). I loved the surreal and vague endings of both of these films, and I wanted to try a novel by Bernheim. Unfortunately, in "Sa Femme," the vagueness of the conclusion did not work. Instead, when I finished the book, I felt as though someone had stolen the ending--displacedhuman."[/i](http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de ... s&n=507846)

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